Everspace 2 Review

The first versions of Everspace 2 appeared back in… 2021?

It’s good that you’ve stopped buying games in “Early Access”. Especially space games. It was a bad habit.

You fell for the promises of another endless universe of content, spent money, then spent three hours struggling with an obviously unfinished client, learning to pilot a spaceship, and resigned yourself to the fact that this spaceship mostly flew to the desktop, not to unexplored galaxies. Then you quickly realized that for the next three years, all your adventures would consist of transporting a batch of space iron from planet A to planet B.

You should have slapped yourself on the hands.

Something from the dead weight of the Steam library did make it past Early Access and maybe even turned into good games. But I don’t know a single example simply because after years and suffering with early versions, I never reinstalled any release that I once had the pleasure of touching through Early Access.

But now I’ve completed therapeutic courses for anonymous beta version buyers, and I managed to wait until Everspace 2 grew into a real game that can provide real enjoyment.

Spaceship flying in space

So, outside the window is the cosmic frontier, we are a combat pilot-clone who got caught up in the midst of another corporate flight. From grim prospects and captivity by renegade bandits, we are saved by chance, as well as a beaten-down cellmate with a shady past and big plans for the near future.

Further on, there will only be more genre clichés. A grand plan for escape to peaceful central galaxies, a diverse team of renegades, an AI partner, the harsh everyday life of local colonists, heartless actions of a soulless corporation…

However, ES2 doesn’t pretend that the local plot is something more than a set of checkpoints with pictures. The main thing is for us to have somewhere to fly to and engage in something interesting.

A futuristic spacecraft

Actually, ES2 is a freelancer pilot simulator with an emphasis on… With an emphasis on the fact that none of the game mechanics will be overloaded with hardcore elements.

95 percent of the time, we will be piloting a small combat ship in third person, designed to extract loot and resources from the surrounding reality. Within literally five minutes, the game explains that there are no harsh tricks or complications here. Fly into an asteroid belt, shoot an iron deposit, collect the iron. Enemies arrive, shoot the enemies, collect the spoils.

If you are looking for a serious simulator, Everspace 2 is not it. But there are many, many different places to explore, arcade shootouts, and tons of ship upgrades for hours of gameplay.

A vibrant galactic environment

Don’t worry, the pilot is happy

Operating the ship is very simple. At least, by genre standards. The basic control keys, acceleration, and then the ship flies exactly where you command it. And most importantly, piloting mistakes and bad driving techniques are absolutely unpunished. Decorations and other floating debris can be rammed. The only consequence is a slight damage to the energy shield, which will also be restored in a second or two. The chances of crashing are practically zero. As a huge casual gamer, I wholeheartedly approve of this approach.

Moreover, it freed the hands of the designers, which they took full advantage of. I would even say that you won’t find cooler space than in Everspace 2 right now. Space stations, asteroid fields, mines, ship graveyards, settlements on the surface of planets, military bases – all the familiar landmarks in comparison to other similar games in ES2 look more detailed, fresh, and interesting.

A close-up of a spaceship

I repeat, this effect is achieved because you are not afraid to fly close to objects. Moreover, half of the local missions are built on exploring narrow shafts and maneuvering between piles of once high-tech scrap metal. For example, the game may require us to fly to a planetary junkyard and dig up rare military hardware there. And upon arrival, it turns out that we have to squeeze through narrow passages and explore abandoned hangars.

The only thing that is frankly annoying in such excursions is the poor optimization of the game engine. Not that I have the most powerful computer in the world right now, but for the level of graphics that ES2 displays on the screen, it should be enough. And overall, it is enough, but as soon as you get closer to some big base-colony-ship, FPS inexplicably starts to drop consistently.

A sleek spaceship design

The second half of the quests – it’s clear, about shootouts.

Here the game preaches the same philosophy as with flights. There are its own tricks like special attacks and special “supercharges” on different ships, but overall everything is simple and straightforward.

Enemy ships and drones do not try to drive you crazy with dogfights with hellish three-dimensional maneuvers and prefer to fly straight with small turns. The threat mainly comes from a combination of increased levels of enemies and their large numbers. To properly fight with a real risk to life, you have to delve into the farthest from the plot missions and dangerous territories.

A sci-fi spacecraft in action

It is worth leveling up literally one rank higher than the arrival zone, equipping yourself with up-to-date weapons, and space battles become a pleasant, unobtrusive, and ego-stroking shooting range. Especially with an increased range railgun.

Trading turned out to be the only element of the game that didn’t interest me at all. The reason is simple – buying batches of cargo, looking for what can be sold profitably in which solar system, shuttling from station to station for trading is simply too tedious.

What’s the point of all this when during every first flight between systems you can catch a random signal, turn to it, fight, and sell the loot at the nearest store, without paying attention to any price fluctuations?

In Everspace 2, there is too much other content to waste time on relatively boring caravans.

An outer space scene

Not deep, but wide space

How much time can you spend on adventures in Everspace 2? In short, a lot.

The game hooks you in: with each new level, more interesting guns are unlocked, new special moves appear in the shops, gray items must be replaced first with green ones, then with blue ones, and so on. And of course, there will always be some task and a new interesting, unexplored place for you.

However, over time, the simplicity and straightforwardness of ES2 mechanics can turn from an advantage into a disadvantage. It’s very easy to get hooked on the game, and that’s great, of course. But with further immersion, the gameplay of Everspace 2 doesn’t gain any significant new elements. And since there is no special science behind piloting or combat, if the main gameplay starts to lose its charm, ES2 won’t have anything else to offer you.

A futuristic vessel

However, it’s quite boring if it does happen, it won’t be fast.

Personally, after about 10 hours of playing, I started to lose interest in combat encounters, but I still can’t say that they have completely turned into a boring routine. The further I go, the less I get distracted by shootouts in random asteroid fields and the more I ignore endless enemy groups lurking around the perimeter of the maps. But big fights with good loot still excite me.

The process of exploration remains as interesting as it was at the very beginning. Yes, the local quests for finding items and manipulating objects a la “Drag the energy cluster to the power coil in 20 seconds” are also simple and not particularly diverse. But here, all potential problems are solved by cool location design and beautiful landscapes that are very hard to get tired of.

A spacecraft exploring the cosmos

I can congratulate everyone who waited for the full release of Everspace 2.

I have no idea what exactly the developers managed to promise during the time the game was in Early Access. Therefore, I am not aware of which promises were fulfilled and which were not.

In fact, we got a very good space sim. It is more casual than hardcore. It is more about the player’s personal adventures than about a global epic story. At the same time, it is very lively, easy to learn, and full of content.

Everspace 2
Action Adventure, Third-Person, Space
Rockfish Games
Rockfish Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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